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Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix ratings for 'Barnett vs Kharitonov' event reach 274,000 viewers on Showtime

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Photo by <a href="http://allelbows.com" target="new">Esther Lin</a> via <a href="http://mmafighting.com" target="new">MMA Fighting</a>
Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting

Lame duck promotion + complete lack of marketing = ratings black hole.

This is an equation we learned last night when ratings were released for the Strikeforce: "Barnett vs. Kharitonov" event that took place last Sat., Sept. 10 from the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The show, which featured the second leg of the heavyweight grand prix tournament, drew a paltry 274,000 viewers to Showtime this past weekend, according to Sherdog.com. For comparisons sake, the promotions previous offering on July 30, "Fedor vs. Henderson," drew a respectable average audience of 571,000 viewers.

What really serves to highlight how abysmal these numbers are, at least when considering expectations from such a large organization, is the fact that Bellator 49, which aired earlier on the same night, averaged 235,000 viewers on MTV2.

It wasn't for lack of action, though, as the "Barnett vs. Kharitonov" main card featured four finishes and one five-round war for the middleweight championship.

In the main event of the evening, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett earned a berth in the grand prix finals with an arm-triangle submission victory over Russian bomber Sergei Kharitonov.

It marked the second consecutive victory of its kind for the "War Master," who has now won eight fights in a row.

Joining him in the finals is Daniel Cormier, who punched his ticket by scrambling Antonio Silva's eggs in the first round of their contest. "Bigfoot's" big head may have broken Cormier's hand but it didn't save him from a visit to Queer Street and a quick ticket out of the tournament.

In other action on the card, Luke Rockhold turned in the performance of his life by aggressively attacking Ronaldo Souza en route to a hard fought five-round unanimous decision victory. His prize was a 185-pound title and one hell of an audition tape for the UFC.

Rounding out the night's broadcast was former light heavyweight champion Muhammed Lawal knocking out Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Roger Gracie and durable lightweight Pat Healy submitting puffed up featherweight Maximo Blanco.

For complete "Barnett vs. Kharitonov" results and recap of all the night's action click here and here.